Illinois' Top Dog Training Academy

How To Transition Your Dog Home From A Board and Train

Did you just pick up your pup from a Board and Train program? While your dog may have learned some awesome new skills and has a great foundation, there is still some work to be done to ensure the same result transfer to the home. A board and train program is not finished until the dog completes the transitional process from training facility to home environment. At the end of the day, you as an owner are the one who will be spending the remaining time with your dog and their new training. Below we will look at the key factors for effectively transitioning the training your dog has received back home. We will also provide some tips that will help with any common issues as well.


The single most important thing you can do when your dog first gets home is to practice! This helps your dog adjust to listening to not only you but in the home environment as well. Your dog must now get used to your tone of voice, the way you move, reward etc. They also may have a history of bad behavior or not listening in the house, so that needs to be undone by practicing good behavior repeatedly. There are a lot of new skills your dog hasn’t ever had to do at home like coming when called in the yard or walking with a loose leash out on your normal walk around the neighborhood. Practice makes perfect in dog training so it is best to practice everyday for the next two weeks for at least 15 mins per day. If you can, two training sessions everyday are better than one. If there is something your dog is especially struggling with, then direct most of your training towards that goal until they are successful.

Hand feed

Whenever we ask our dog to do a command or listen to us, they must be motivated to do so. One of the key motivators for all dogs is food. By hand feeding a majority of their daily food for the training sessions or obedience commands, you can continue to build their desire to do the commands. The more food or reinforcement that is directed towards desired behaviors, the more likely your dog is to display those desired behaviors. If they get two or three meals everyday for free (not required to do a command), then they are less likely to do the commands at other times of the day since they are full and are less motivated by food. This is something we recommend to do for the first week home but continuing after that will lead to increased responsiveness from your dog. Not only food but try to pick up the toys and only use them when you ask them to do a command as well. When your dog doesn’t get to play with their favorite toy all day at their leisure, they will work much harder for it the few times you bing it out for training.

Keep Leash On

Keeping the leash on for the next 2-3 days can help maintain control as your dog adjusts to being back home. Anytime our dog has a leash on, we can use it to limit our dog’s options when they are choosing not to listen. A common situation where this helps is when people come over for the first time since your dog has been home. Usually they will be over stimulated and will do undesired behaviors such as excessive barking and jumping. We can mitigate this and increase our dogs' response to us by having them on leash. You can leave a 6ft leash dragging on them so that you can grab the leash whenever you need to. This starts the transition process off on the right foot so they don’t immediately start to regress. The leash can also be used as guidance in times of confusion if there is a behavior or situation which your dog seems to be confused by. Every dog will transition home differently from the board and train program and while not common, they can occasionally be confused and the leash helps to guide them to the right answer.

Utilize Tools

Depending on what program your dog completed, they may have been taught and conditioned to a common dog training tool. First you must ensure proper fit and usage of the tool which should have been explained by your trainer in the go home lesson. If your tool comes with instructions read through those as well. For prong collars it is very important to make sure the collar is resting and not tight on your dog. It’s also important that the chains are not tangled and you have a leash attached in situations in which you may use it. For ecollar training it is very important to become familiar with the functions and to also ensure the collar is a proper fit and not too loose. A training tool, when taught correctly, is another form of motivation for your dog so that you don’t always have to have food to get a response or can help in situations where food is not motivating enough like out on walks or when guests come to the house.

Read Handouts

At Seek we like to give plenty of reading material to take home to help owners stay informed on how dogs think and learn as well as all of the commands and marker words to use. You may have also received some undesired behavior handouts which can give extra guidance for behaviors such as jumping, mouthing or puppy biting, excessive barking, and potty training. Dog training starts by knowing what to do in the right situation and being prepared. Become familiar with the concepts, words, and techniques so you are ready right when you get home.

Reach out

If there is something your dog is struggling with it is best to reach out right away so that it can be addressed before serious regression begins. Every dog will transition home differently at their own pace so it is best to not get frustrated and keep this in mind. For more help transitioning your dog home, don’t hesitate to call us at 913-214-2659 and our expert team of trainers will be more than happy to assist you with any issues or questions!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top